Monday, December 03, 2007

The Accidental Runner

I’m back. 11 days, 4 cities, two states, two countries and 13,000 miles later I finally made it back to Phoenix. Although I certainly get to go places many people only dream of, traveling around is kicking my butt but good. I spent last week in France. I usually really enjoy going to France, but this trip was too short to get over the initial jet lag and too packed with business meetings and dinners to give me a chance to catch up with my friends in that neck of the woods. And I’m flying coach again (tight travel budget).

I don’t really mind flying coach, but it’s always a crap shoot who you’ll get for a seat mate. It’s either a travel pro that knows you’re supposed to spend most of those 10 hour flights to Europe sleeping or a first timer that wants to talk for 6 straight hours. Fortunately, the gods of low cost tickets shined on me again; aisle seats with seasoned travelers both ways. I even lucked out with my connections. My flights on the first leg of both my outbound and inbound trips were canceled and I was able to re-route, keep my aisle seats and get to my destination faster. How often does that happen?

Running didn’t go nearly as well. In fact, I only got in two runs for a total of 11 miles while in France.

Monday: In the air between LA and Frankfurt and then onto Toulouse
Tuesday: Arrived in Toulouse at 6:30PM; found hotel in the small village of Tournefeuille at 8:30; fell into bed at 9:30
Wednesday: Dinner with customer from 7:30 to 10:30
Thursday: Off work at 8PM, quick 3 miler before searching for dinner
Friday: Off work at 8PM, 8 miler before dinner
Saturday: Flew from Toulouse to Phoenix via Munich and Denver. Got home at 6PM (thought about running for 2 minutes)
Sunday: Woke up feeling dead. Pulled my back moving boxes with Christmas decoration, bagged rest of day

The Friday run was only supposed to be 5 miles; however, I took an accidental 8 miler when I got carried away and didn’t turn back towards the hotel after the first 2 miles. I got out of the office at 8:00 PM and back to the hotel around 8:30. I thought I'd go out for a quick 5 miler before looking for some dinner, but instead, I found myself enjoying the cold night air so much that I just kept on running out of the village of Tournefeuille, figuring I'd just find a loop back into town soon enough.

After 45 minutes I was breezing along as the temperature continued to drop when I realized that I was running alone in a strange town late a night; in fact, I’d lost track of which village I was actual in. No one knew I was out running, I didn't have any money on me, nor did I have any ID; not even a room a key. There was nothing but me, my DNA and my running outfit. I suddenly realized that I was really running alone, literally and metaphorically. Now what?

I knew I’d run a mile or so towards the west and couple of miles more or less south and as I kept going, I had some sense that the route had turned back towards the east. Of course, this was France. There is no such thing as a straight road, nor do roads necessarily go where you think they should. But I wasn’t too worried. I knew there was a freeway two miles to the east of the hotel in Tournefeuille and I’d have to run into it sooner or later.

I finally came to a round-about with a sign pointing to "Toulouse - Centre de Ville". Great! Toulouse is east and north of Tournefeuille so this road had to take me more or less north-east and I still had that freeway to find. About a mile later, I came upon a ugly massive round-about. Back in the deep recesses of my brain, I could only recall one round-about this massive that didn’t have a park or monument in the middle. It was at the end of the end of the freeway I assumed I'd have to run over before heading into down town Toulouse. I had actually run so far south that I'd nearly over run the only landmark I was sure of finding.

My luck continued as I found a path along the side of the freeway that took me directly back into town again. If your interested in the track, you can find it here.

I made it back to the hotel around 10PM, splashed some water on my face, did a quick wash-up, jumped back into my suit and headed into the center of the village to find a restaurant still open. After a quick dinner (yes, I know this is an oxymoron in France) I got back to my hotel at 11:30, packed my bag, set my alarm for 5:00 AM and tried to get some sleep before flying back to Phoenix.

I apologize for not keeping up with everyone last week. I’m sure lots of you have done some amazing things over the last week that I completely missed. Looking forward to getting caught up this week. I might even get in a mile or two.

Take care.


J~mom said...

I don't know how you do it! That is one crazy schedule! Great job getting your runs done in the mean time!

Ewen said...

Regarding the accidental 8 miler - looks like it was totally planned from your map ;) Glad you didn't stumble upon the riots we heard about on the news.

At least it's possible to find a restaurant open that time of the night in France!

Billy said...

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the Max heart rate tip you left on my blog March 2007 here , I got round to trying it this week and it look like my heartrate is about 8 above the formula (handy to know).

Nice to see your were in Paris, I vacationed in Paris last year and loved it, I'm hoping to do the Paris Marathon next year (April 6th), fitness and health premitting (fingers crossed).

Keep well.


Anonymous said...

All I have to say is you must be exhausted.

jen said...

Welcome home!

I love your 8 mile adventure run in France. Awesome. :)

DawnB said...

Phil welcome back. Thats alot of traveling. Just dealing with the airports would drive me nuts.

Anne said...

I'm exhausted just reading about this, let alone imagining you living this. That's dedication!

Josh said...

"accidental 8 miler" that happens in my world about as often flights getting re-routed and to their destinations ahead of schedule!